The Muslim Brotherhood's habit of breaking promises has tilted so far over the edge that some of its own members have resigned in protest.
After promising to seek only about a third of the seats in Egypt's parliament following Hosni Mubarak's fall last year, the group swept into dominance with a near majority after voting in December. Now, after insisting it would not run a candidate for president – and even ousting a member who put his hat in the ring last summer – the Brotherhood Shura Council voted Saturday to offer their No. 2 man for office.
Khairat al-Shater's candidacy won a slim majority from the Brotherhood's internal legislative body, the Shura Council. It was seen as a response to the strong candidacy from Salafist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.
In response, prominent member Kamal Helbawy resigned, saying the group was following too much in Mubarak's path. He accused the Brotherhood of secretly conspiring with Egyptian military leaders so both can have power in a new Egypt.
"Shater has met with almost all the senior State Department officials and American lawmakers visiting Cairo," the New York Times reported Sunday. "He is in regular contact with the American ambassador, Anne Patterson, as well as the executives of many American companies here, and United States officials have praised his moderation as well as his intelligence and effectiveness."
Similarly, a CNN report cast Shater, a millionaire businessman, as "the driving force behind" Brotherhood statements it would honor Egypt's peace agreement with Israel.
Time will tell how good the Brotherhood's word is on that.
In October, Shater republished a 2004 interview he gave Qatari newspaper al Sharq on his own website that featured showcase some of that "moderation." If his views have changed, it's odd that he would re-publish the article.
He praised "martyrdom operations" as part of the honor of the Muslim people fighting the "unjust Zionist aggressor, backed by the unjust America as well."
In addition, he longs for "the moment which allows us as Muslims in the countries surrounding Palestine to participate in the Jihad against the Jews; because that is a key objective and a key mission for us as Muslims: the rescue of Palestine from the talons of the Zionist and Western project in general, and the liberalization of the Al Aqsa Mosque in particular."
Meanwhile, representatives of the Coptic Church, representing about 10 percent of Egypt's population, withdrew from the committee writing Egypt's new constitution, saying their efforts to influence the document were doomed by the Islamist dominance on the committee.
A delegation of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party arrives in Washington this week for meetings with academic and Islamist groups. Maybe someone can muster the temerity to ask why anyone should take their word for anything.